EMPLOYEE N EWS L E TTE R
FEB RUA RY 2017
Tau Beta Pi establishes local BYU-Idaho engineering chapter This spring, BYU-Idaho’s engineering honor society, Tau Beta Delta, will be installed as the 246th chapter of the National Honor Society, Tau Beta Pi. As the precursor to a TBP chapter, the Tau Beta Delta Engineering Honor Society was founded in the fall of 2013, and has grown to include more than 100 students and alumni. Now, nationally recognized, BYU-Idaho engineering students will enjoy increased potential for their future careers. Students with the strongest GPA in their class are selected and voted into the society by existing members. Besides the regular requirements to join, students at BYU-Idaho are also required to perform at least two hours of service to become part of their local chapter. Many students will attend a grade school and teach principles of engineering to complete this requirement. Also, as part of the requirements to be installed into the National Honor Society,
at least three members of a department’s faculty in a local chapter must already be members of Tau Beta Pi. There are currently eight BYU-Idaho faculty members who are already members.
“Some of the strengths that I see at BYU-Idaho is that the professors have a lot of real-world experience.” —PATRICK FISHER, PRESIDENT OF TAU BE TA DELTA,BYU-IDAHO CHAPTER
“Some of the strengths that I see at BYU-Idaho is that the professors have a lot of real-world experience as they have worked in the industry for many years,” said Patrick Fisher, president of Tau Beta Delta. “This is definitely a strength as the material being covered is applied to real-world applications
and helps the students here to prepare to enter into the workforce.” BYU-Idaho’s engineering program was built around a hands-on curriculum, with a lot of laboratory experiences. There are multiple labs with equipment and state of the art technology, giving students the opportunity to see the entire process of engineering, from theoretical and technical to manufacturing and production. “We try to be more than just a theoretical institution, we try to figure out how to apply it and get our hands dirty,” said Adam Dean, faculty member of the Mechanical Engineering Department and mentor of Tau Beta Delta. After operating its own local chapter and undergoing a nearly two yearlong application process, BYU-Idaho will officially join the National Honor Society in March. “Teaching and learning with others is especially emphasized at BYU-Idaho and enabled through the great atmosphere— created by both students and faculty—of everyone working together to help each other succeed,” said Erica Crampton, former president of Tau Beta Delta. & IN THIS ISSUE: RIGBY AND BIDDULPH RENOVATIONS.......4 HUMANITIES COURSE PREPARES STUDENTS FOR REAL WORLD......................3 DMBA CREATES CULTURE OF WELLNESS......................................................7 STUDENT APPLIES LEARNING AND PRESENTS RESEARCH...................................7
BYU-Idaho student Jonathan Horton teaches local elementary school students about electricity.
BYU-Idaho student Eric Stoddard builds a bridge with local elementary school students.
I.T. DEPAR TMENT ENCOURAGES STUDENT GROW TH AND DE VELOPMENT....................5
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President’s Update: Increasing freshmen retention By President Clark G. Gilbert
At BYU-Idaho every student has the opportunity to reach their potential. To help more students engage in that opportunity, Amy LaBaugh, Student Life Vice President, is leading the charge to increase first-year retention. While BYU-Idaho has a strong relative graduation rate of 58 percent (higher than almost every peer institution in Idaho and Utah), the university’s first-year retention rate of 69 percent just barely exceeds the national average. That means nearly one out of every three BYU-Idaho freshmen, who are expected to return, do not. On average, 50 percent of the students who leave BYU-Idaho do so in their first year. Interestingly, academic performance is not among the top three reason students withdraw. The number one reason they don’t finish is an actual lack of funds or the perception that it won’t work out financially. Personal and family issues rank second, and the third cause is a lack of academic planning and direction. Studies show the three most effective ways to increase freshmen retention are through targeted advising, college success courses, and peer mentoring. This past fall, the Student Life area has implemented new programs in all three areas to increase our first-year retention rate (percentage of students who enroll after two semesters).
Advising Student Life is now working to offer our students improved advising to help them along the path to achieving graduation. This past semester, students who had recently been accepted were able to access a personalized, online checklist (see image below). This checklist tracks capability to help ensure students effectively prepare to start at BYU-Idaho. New and current students also began to use the new Grad Plan to map out a clear path to graduation. Additionally, the Advising Office is working with the new College Success Course and the Peer Mentoring areas to significantly increase the number of students who have completed their Grad Plan. College Success Course The new College Success Course launched this past fall semester with Mark Orchard as the course lead. The curriculum is designed specifically to help students learn and apply patterns that will enable them to succeed: • Pattern One: Develop characteristics of self-reliance, stewardship, and replenishment (giving back) • Pattern Two: Understand the mission of the university and the goal of disciple leadership • Pattern Three: Learn the purposes and principles required to apply the BYU-Idaho Learning Model
on student persistence and college success. Application of the principles taught in this course will lead to not only increased freshmen retention, but higher student engagement in the classroom and a deeper understanding of BYU-Idaho’s mission. Peer Mentoring In order to succeed, every student needs someone who can cheer them on, keep them accountable, and hold them to high expectations. Before every student arrives on campus, a student ambassador contacts them to offer support. Then, once they arrive, the majority of our students attend Get Connected, where they will meet their First Year Mentors. After their two-day orientation, these leaders will serve as mentors for each student’s entire first semester. This past fall semester, more than 300 students volunteered as peer mentors. For students who need extra mentoring, our new Heber J. Grant program provides extended mentoring. BYU-Idaho mentors will not only orient new students to campus, they also will be friends and resources to answer new students’ questions throughout the semester. I am confident that as we strengthen these programs and provide additional resources to our students, we will not only increase graduation rates, we will better prepare greater numbers of our students to reach their potential as future disciple leaders. &
The course has been designed specifically using research (both internal and external)
Mark Orchard, who teaches the new College Success Course, holds a discussion with students in the Thomas E. Ricks Gardens.
Every new student now recieves a personalized online checklist like the one pictured above, encouraging them to be prepared for for their first semester.
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President Gilbert spends time instructing Get Connected Mentors in fall 2016.
New humanities course prepares students for the real world Part of what makes BYU-Idaho special is the teaching-focused faculty and the resources the university provides to prepare students through the transition from the classroom to the real world. The Department of Humanities and Philosophy recently developed a new course that teaches students how to stand out in their field. Professional Preparation in the Humanities (HUM 105) prepares students to find internships and careers in the their field. The first semester of this course finished in the fall of 2016 and its second semester is now underway. “One way to put it is we are requiring students to take advantage of the career preparation services on campus and giving them credit for doing it,” said Derek Jensen, faculty member in the Department of Humanities and Philosophy, who teaches the course. The class is similar to other professional and career preparation courses on campus, but has a unique focus on the student’s future transition into the professional world of humanities and philosophy. To help them envision this transition, students research internship and career opportunities in specific geographical locations and present on them. They also attend five career preparation
workshops and use other services like resume reviews and mock interviews. “I also have them read You Majored in What?: Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career which is really geared towards liberal arts and humanities majors and helping them figure out what they want to do with their degrees after college,” Jensen said. This class is also unique amongst the other classes offered by the Humanities and Philosophy Department because it is mostly objective. Much of the content of the class had been included in other humanities core classes, but has since been separated out from the other content to create a stronger focus on the professional preparation material. “We simply split it off so we could concentrate on the internship, career, and business aspects of this class together so it doesn’t get muddled with the analytical and critical thinking we are trying to do with our writing class,” Jensen said. “We split it off and that frees up the writing class to do more with actual humanities writing. Then this class takes care of all of the other professional stuff.” The new course also encourages students to take charge of their academic and career stewardships.
“We make sure that everyone in the class has a grad plan that has been approved,” Jensen said. “In this class we talk about being intentional with electives and, if you have certain goals in mind, what classes should you be taking and what minor you should get.” Michelle Ovath, a sophomore studying humanities, has always appreciated her opportunities to learn and has taken them seriously. The implementation of this class meant a lot to her and has helped her learn how to prepare for her future. “Growing up, I gained appreciation for the arts and the importance of education,” Ovath said. “Humanities 105 helped me find efficient ways to search for internships, build a solid resume and cover letter, and improve my interviewing skills. The course was a major benefit for me because I did lack in some of those career preparation areas.” Mila Arguetta, a sophomore studying humanities, took the class in her first semester and had a valuable experience. “Humanities is a major where there isn’t a lot of surety for a career, so it helped narrow things for us,” Arguetta said. “I liked it because I felt that we learn a lot of things in our other classes, but we never really applied the learning into life skills like interviewing.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 4
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Continued: Humanities course This class helps students accomplish great things which lie under their
stewardships to take charge of their academics as well as their future careers.
“Brother Jensen had two students that were back from their internships do a presentation and it showed me you can actually find a job using a degree in humanities,” Arguetta said. Jensen said that quite a few of his students were looking diligently in their assignments for internships and job opportunities. He also said some of the students in the class treat it more as an exercise, but it isn’t a lost exercise by any means. “In the future, when they are sophomores and juniors and are thinking about an internship more seriously, they know exactly where to go, how to get more help and when they are seniors, when they start doing job searches, they know right where to go and get their resume and cover letter reviewed again,” Jensen said. &
Derek Jensen, who teaches Professional Preparation in the Humanities, works with humanities students to prepare them for professional life after college.
Biddulph and Rigby Halls’ stairwells under renovation Biddulph and Rigby Hall employees are looking forward to a more comfortable walk to work in the coming months. The south entrances to both buildings are currently closed while Facilities works to bring the building’s stairwells up to code. Workers are replacing the stairs, window walls, and also installing a heating and ventilation system. After serving as student dormitories since the mid 1960s the buildings were repurposed into faculty and administrative offices. Rigby Hall was repurposed in 2001 and Biddulph Hall housed its last students in 2012. Since the buildings were repurposed, Facilities have made small improvements from replacing carpets to painting the walls, to making it a more comfortable work space. The new stairwells will not only comply with code, but will also be heated.
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“The stairs do not comply with current codes controlling the height of the handrails,” said Rulon Nielsen, construction director for BYUIdaho’s Construction Management Services. “Additionally, the stairs are cold and damp during the winter months, resulting in rust on the steel stair components.” The renovations will not only make the stairs more comfortable in the winter, but during summer months as well. “The new curtain walls will be double paned, which will save energy as well as provide comfortable vertical circulation,” Nielsen said. Once the south stairwells reopen, the north stairwells of the buildings will close for renovation. The entire project is scheduled to be completed in the spring. &
Renovations on the Biddulph and Rigby Halls will be completed this spring.
Student growth emphasized in workplace Many college students view their part-time job as simply a way to pay for their tuition and living expenses. But for students in the Department of Information Technology’s Process Improvement Office, student jobs are tailored to provide specific experience and real-world application. Anne Stott, director of the Process Improvement Office, hopes the student tailored experience is meaningful to each individual part-time employee. “Our goal was to have students become leaders very quickly, and give them full scale work and responsibility so that when they leave our organization they will be prepared for the real world,” Stott said. The IT Department created the Process Improvement Office last summer with the focus on maintaining and improving the department through support, communication, content management, planning, training, research,
workflows and processes, and change management. This is accomplished by an entirely student-staffed office.
“Our goal was to have students become leaders very quickly, and give them full scale work and responsibility so that when they leave our organization they will be prepared for the real world.” —ANNE STOT T, PROCESS IMPROVEMENT OFFICE DIREC TOR
Katie Austin began working in the Department of Information Technology two and half years ago as a student secretary. Eventually, she was moved to a communication position that was a better fit for her degree in public relations. Now
Katie oversees the Department Relations within the Process Improvement Office, managing other students who hope to gain similar real-world experience. “We have a student who is really good at writing and has a lot of skills in that area, but this semester she wanted to learn more about communications and working with people, so we moved her over to another team where she helps produce our newsletter and works directly with our councils,” Austin said. “It gives us the opportunity to work with students to help them go where they want to go.” The knowledge these student employees gain is just as pertinent to their fields of study as the material they learn in the classroom. This combined with the mentoring of full-time staff help to retain their student workforce at a high level. “We believe in making a personal investment in our students,” Stott said. That investment has seen its fair share of payoffs. The recently updated I.T. website was written, designed, and even coded mostly by students. “The work that is coming out of this office is coming out from the students,” Stott said. “I do some hand holding when needed, but for the most part we put our trust in the students.” I.T. Department Communication Coordinator Jordan Davidson worked on the website as a student before being hired full-time after graduation. “It was really valuable to me personally and professionally learning how to write for an audience that might not be overly technical,” Davidson said. “It was valuable in that I learned how to take really technical concepts with a lot of acronyms and language that I didn’t get at first and turn it into something that a non-technical person could understand.”
The new I.T. Department website is a great example of student leadership. It was written, designed, and coded by students.
Tyler Brown, a student employee who recently switched his major CONTINUED ON PAGE 6
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Continued: I.T. student leadership
On the Blog University Relations Launches Institutional Campaign University Relations recently launched BYU-Idaho’s new institutional campaign, “Student Focused by Design” and redesigned the www.byui.edu homepage.
2016 Annual Enrollment Check out official 2016 annual enrollment numbers of campus, online, and Pathway students.
Honor Campaign Launches on Campus
from computer science to software engineering, saw increased success in his classes because of the projects he was working on related to the website. “I took a web engineering class which taught me basic HTML and CSS, so at the beginning of that class I thought it would be simple,” Brown said. “I ended up learning a lot, but the experience I had building the website for I.T. really set me up for success in that class.” The principles of work, student growth, and learning by doing, in the Department of Information Technology, have not only influenced the role of each student, but full-time employees as well.
life, working, and business skills. We are all about educating,” Craner said. BYU-Idaho’s I.T. Department is improving and is seeing increased collaboration and dedication to common goals as students come together, recognize their potential, and use the Spirit to guide their efforts. “We believe fully in creating disciple leaders. We encourage this by providing as many hand-on, real-life working experiences as we can, coupled with a strong emphasis on utilizing the guidance and teachings of the Spirit,” Stott said. “It has transformed our office.”
I.T. Department Support Specialist Jenifer Craner says that the workplace is a unique and effective place to teach students.
Davidson, who has experience on both the student and employee side of the I.T. Department, believes that the learning model is central to their workplace.
“Many people ask me how it is teaching on campus and I always correct them that I am not a faculty, but I do teach. I teach
“I have seen that when the learning model is properly implemented, there isn’t a limit to what you can do,” Davidson said. &
The Student Honor Office launched a new campaign this semester to increase awareness and remind the BYU-Idaho community what it means to follow the Honor Code.
University Produces Safety Videos BYU-Idaho has teamed up with the city of Rexburg in an effort to promote pedestrian safety. Visit the blog to find links to the videos.
Tyler Brown, Paige Brown, and Jordan Davis work on the Information Technology Department’s new website.
For these articles and more, scan this QR code or visit bit.ly/BYUIBlog
Student employees Nate Hodson, Katie Austin, Paige Brown, and Will Hjorth review the new I.T. website.
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Physics student’s real-world experience makes lasting impact Senior Samantha Gossage is taking what she learns in her physics classrooms and turning it into realworld experience. After six months of preparation and over 400 hours of research, she presented her findings to scientists from all over the world at the American Geophysics Union (AGU) Conference in San Francisco last fall. “Being able to go and present my research as an undergraduate student at the conference was a huge opportunity,” Gossage said.
“The biggest thing I learned is that hard work pays off.” —SAMANTHA GOSSAGE, STUDENT
“She expressed interest in doing some computational research,” Norris said. “I was planning on going, and I had an idea that I thought she’d be a great fit for.” Gossage’s effort earned her lessons and experiences that will last a lifetime, demonstrating that applied learning and a teaching-focused faculty continue to bless the lives of students at BYU-Idaho.
Gossage prepared a conference presentation focused on her hypothesis; that the apparent randomness of earthquake sequences “I learned a lot about the research depends on whether small earthquakes process,” Gossage said. “Asking for are included in the sequence.
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The conference reported that over 24,000 people attended in 2016, making AGU’s Fall Meeting “the largest Earth and space science meeting in the world.” Gossage’s faculty mentor, J. Quinn Norris of the Physics Department, invited Gossage to this event in June 2016, and worked alongside her throughout the entire project. “The fact that Brother Norris invited me was awesome,” Gossage said. “He had the faith that I could successfully do this.”
Samantha Gossage presents research on the frequency of earthquake activity at the AGU conference.
DMBA encourages a culture of wellness Each year, DMBA holds a wellness challenge to encourage beneficiaries to live healthier lives and receive financial rewards for sticking to goals and completing different challenges. Beyond a monetary motivation of receiving up to $250, doing even the first of the challenges can be greatly beneficial to your life. Brent Bean, a faculty member in the Department of Communications, found the benefit of starting the Living Healthy Wellness Program to be worth much more than the $70 he received by completing his health risk assessment.
being told what to do. Gaylynn, on the other hand, has been a devoted participant for years because of her personal determination to exercise and stay healthy.
my health.” Brent said. “At first I started because I wanted the money, but it turned into helping me improve my health and quality of life.”
The results of the health risk assessment changed Brent’s life forever. The test results led him to discover he had type 2 diabetes.
BYU-Idaho offers a number of activities and projects that help employees and their families achieve the goals they set for themselves as well as receive the monetary compensation from the Living Healthy Wellness Program.
“My doctor told me that by having diabetes they now know how I would die, but if I would live a healthier life, that could be at age 80, instead of 50 or 60,” Brent said. This change in his life motivated Brent to participate in the Living Healthy Wellness Program. Ever since, Brent and Gaylynn have completed the wellness challenges and enjoy engaging in healthy habits and activities with their entire family.
Brent was persuaded by his wife, Gaylynn Bean, an adjunct faculty member of the Communications Department, to complete the health risk assessment. Brent hadn’t participated in the program before “Living Healthy was a way to because he says he didn’t like the idea of incentivize me to do something about
The BYU-Idaho Wellness Center offers free health risk assessments to all full-time employees who want to get their numbers for the program. Wellness Center Manager Derik Taylor says he wants to see more employees take advantage of the Living Healthy program and create a culture of wellness. “There are great opportunities for employees to do something that they may CONTINUED ON PAGE 8 F E B R UA R Y 2 0 1 7
Continued: DMBA wellness enjoy,” Taylor said. “If there is a group of employees that want to do something and take advantage of the resources we have on campus, and there isn’t something that is formally set up, come talk to me and we can get something set up.”
There is an extensive list of activities that employees are currently engaging in that are open and welcoming of others to participate. Around noon, there is basketball, pickle ball, aerobics and spinning classes, racquetball, indoor soccer, and more. As it warms up, there will be additional outdoor activities.
“Hopefully people catch on and see this as important,” Taylor said. “The overall health of our employees is important. We want them to be happy and it’s hard to be happy when you aren’t healthy.” &
To find more information about the Living Healthy Wellness Program, scan this QR code or call (208)-496-7491 Student employees work at the Wellness Center where they help employees by offering free health risk assessments.
Continued: Physics student help when needed is important. Don’t procrastinate, and remember to take notes. The biggest thing I learned was that hard work pays off.” Norris was impressed with the ways he saw Gossage grow professionally along the course of her project as well. “Throughout the project, I saw her understand more about real research,” Norris said. “That’s what scientists do. By the end, she was able to present her work to real scientists and have real conversations with them. I really enjoyed watching Sam make that shift from being just a student to the beginnings of becoming a scientist herself.”
“It helped me realize that I should reconsider graduate school,” Gossage said. “I met some graduate students who were doing really interesting projects and it opened my mind up a lot to the idea.” Gossage is grateful for her experience and expressed gratitude for her faculty mentors. “I have always been supported to do what I wanted to do by the physics faculty here since day one,” Gossage said. “It was a huge motivation to have Brother Norris and the department supporting me in this.” &
Though Gossage’s research results didn’t prove her hypothesis correct in the end, she saw how the experience as a whole opened her eyes to new opportunities and pursuits.
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A monthly publication of University Relations A D V I S O R Brett Crandall W R I T E R S Dain Knudson, Erin McMahon, Phillip Price, & Spencer Williams P H O T O G R A P H E R S Michael Lewis, Ryan Chase, Emily Gottfredson & Lana Strathearn